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What To Do and See in Downtown Raleigh, North Carolina

Raleigh, the capital city of North Carolina is well known for its top tier universities and associated hospitals. With the main downtown district of Raleigh only a 20 minute walk from one side to the other, this is one of the most walkable cities in the United States.

At the same time the city is undergoing a modern rejuvenation with plenty of cultural and culinary attractions to enjoy and explore. Come ready to explore with your stomach on this self guided Raleigh food tour, with southern BBQ, chicken and biscuits, and several desserts!

Raleigh, North Carolina Travel Video

Walking Map to Downtown Raleigh

Top Attractions in Raleigh, North Carolina

Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts

The Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts houses several venues of varying sizes with a range of theatrical and musical productions throughout the year. Check their calendar to catch a show while you are staying in Raleigh.

Pope House Museum

If you are visiting Raleigh over the weekend, do not miss out on a tour of the Dr. Manassa Thomas Pope house museum. This home of the only African-American to run for mayor of a Southern capital during the Jim Crow Era provides an interesting look into the life of this intriguing man. Guided tours run on Saturdays from 10AM to 2PM on the top of the hour.

Moore Square

Making your way into the heart of the downtown district is Moore Square, which was part of the original plans for the city in 1792. The park is currently closed for construction and is anticipated to reopen early 2019.

City of Raleigh Museum

In the COR Museum you will find a set of rotating exhibits about the history and people of Raleigh. During our visit there was a exhibit on political cartoonist and local resident, Dwane Powell, along with a look into the impact of war with interviews from Raleigh-area veterans.

North Carolina State Capitol

Take a self guided tour through the North Carolina State Capitol, the former home of the entire state government and now just the governors offices. At your own pace see the old House of Representatives and Senate Chambers and several other rooms restored to their 1850s usage.

North Carolina Museum of History

At the North Carolina Museum of History get an in depth and interactive view into the thousands of years of history on this land. From prehistoric stone tools, through the civil war and all the way up to the Vietnam war and today, this free museum gives you a complete view of North Carolina.

North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

Just next door is the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. Learn all about the plants, animals and natural phenomena that have been present across North Carolina throughout history. Make sure not to miss the chance to view a two-toed sloth in a room full of tropical butterflies.

The North Carolina Executive Mansion

The Executive Mansion is more than just the home of the NC governor, it is also a beautiful work of architecture. They offer tours of the mansion Wednesday and Thursdays only with reservations required a minimum of two weeks in advance.

North Carolina Museum of Art

The North Carolina Museum of Art is located west of downtown and does require a car ride over. It houses a collection of works ranging from Ancient Egyptian to contemporary American art. On a beautiful sunny day there is a great opportunity to walk around the vast grounds of The Ann and Jim Goodnight Museum Park connecting art, nature and people.

There are so many other great things to do in Raleigh with new attractions and eateries opening up all the time as the city grows and expands.

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What to do and see in Raleigh NC

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Jacob Downey

Monday 23rd of April 2018

Wonderful guide. Thank you for putting this together. The NCMA is easily accessible by public transportation (route #4) or by bicycle, which also is a great way to explore the incredible campus. Raleigh will be getting a municipal bike share soon, but lime bikes are easy to find and there is a bicycle shop with rentals close the the executive mansion. For the most serene trail consider the art to heart route.

Travel To Blank

Thursday 26th of April 2018

Absolutely, There are so many great and convenient ways to get around Raleigh no matter how you feel comfortable traveling.